A poem for National Poetry Month, line by line, by Rowan Collins and Emily Shearer
Maybe love, during a pandemic, gets bigger as the world begins to feel smaller.
Maybe love is a Mary Oliver poem, when everybody’s reading nothing but the New York Times.
Maybe love is the book nobody read, but rushed to see as a movie.
It’s the weird chicken casserole spiced with the mystery mix from the back of the pantry,
and the way everyone in the family eats it and doesn’t complain.
It’s the creepy painting in your parents’ house that always scares you,
but every happy moment is attached to it.
It’s noticing all those details in your parents’ house, or wishing you had when you still had time,
or wishing you could easily drive over for a visit, and cake,
and knowing it will be a long, long time before you can.
It’s every hello and goodbye, exactly the same as before, but your hands tremble more each time
And itch to hold something more than soap, closer than six feet apart.
Love is not a fan of social distancing.
Love prefers the book, the poem, the touch.
Love thinks that distance does not make the heart grow fonder.
Maybe Love, during a pandemic, breathes a little softer, stays home, learns to wait it out,
wrapped up like a bud whose Spring comes later this year.
Maybe Love, during a pandemic, leaves. Lets you heal alone and prepare for a new love.
Lets you put on your face mask first before you assist others.
Maybe new love wears a gas mask to the grocery store.
Maybe new love will learn from Pandemic Love and pay
the shelf-stockers and the nurses and the delivery folks
and give them insurance benefits and watch out for seniors
and maybe new love will say to Pandemic Love:
We grew when the world turned small.
We taste a bit like chicken casserole. What was that odd and tantalizing spice?
Rowan and Emily are a dynamic student-teacher writing duo at fusion academy in The Woodlands, Texas.